Purslane may well be thought of as a weed, having the rather unflattering name of pigweed and hogweed, but this unusual green shouldn't be overlooked. By the look and feel of its spoon shaped leaves, you can immediately tell that it is a succulent. All parts are edible, the leaves, stem, flower and the seeds.
Purslane is a very nutritious plant and is loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids as well as good quantities of Vitamins A and C. It also has anti-inflammatory and digestive properties - with high levels of anti-oxidants, its a plant we certainly should be eating more of.
The leaves are a little juicy, a subtle savoury flavour - the stems have a bit more bite and flavour.
In the dish I'm making I've decided to make use of all its healthy properties and enjoy it raw. I've tempted it with a mix of heirloom tomatoes and persian fetta to create a colourful salad.
Purslane, Tomato and Persian Fetta Salad
purslane, leaves picked, washed & dried
mixed tomatoes, quartered
extra virgin olive oil
aged balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
I was lucky to score a gorgeous display of various heirloom tomatoes at the market today
and with their different colours, tastes, textures and sizes, they make a wonderful salad just on their own.
Place you prepared tomatoes into a bowl and scatter over with purslane leaves, toss briefly. Crumble over with a little Persian fetta and very gently tumble it through. Drizzle over with a little olive oil and season to taste.
You can enjoy it as it but I've used it as a topped for Bruschetta
On grilled pieces of ciabatta, generously top with the salad mix and then drizzle over with good aged Balsamic Vinegar.